snapshot from another galaxy

vox equipment….

by Art Chantry (

This little advert is from circa 1965-66. it advertises the local hipster music supply shop in lakewood near clover park high school (home of the local rich kids). that shop was the epicenter of cool hip rocker kids, the place they all hung out and bought the latest nifty equipment. every band in the area went there. hang out in the shop and you might even catch a sighting of jerry roslie! or (if you were truly fortunate) one of those cool dudes from the hearsemen!

AC:...yeah, those two have much longer, more interesting histories than we may think. for instance, toni basil played one of the hookers in 'easy rider" (karen black was the other). she was also associated with wallace berman's "semina group" - a sort of loose collaborative of beatnik artists in the fifties circling around an art magazine called 'semina' published by the photographer/poet/artist wallace berman. then there's also her involvement as the choreographer for the 1970's dance troupe "the lockers". and her hit single, "mickey". but, she actually had a "girl group" style single from the early 60's. toni got around! teri's career in the movies is, of course, well known by most of us.

Back in the mid sixties, at the height of the first wave of American punk (now called ‘garage rock’), equipment stores like this were place to be, even more so than the burger stands or the grange dances. it meant you were on the cutting edge of American teenage cool. and tacoma, washington, at that moment had the odd distinction of being one of the spokes on that particular wheel (the hub was in los angeles). we had so many cool hard-ass rock bands here. one of the things i ‘dig’ about this ad is the list of bands they cite as ‘customers’. that’s quite a list of legendary powerhouse garage bands. i’ll bet every one of them played a mean ‘louie, louie.”

Vox equipment was the cool stuff. paul revere and the raiders used vox. they were considered locals, too. originally from boise, idaho, they camped in portland and ended up under the tutilidge of terry melcher, the star surf music producer (and doris day’s son, in los angeles, where they became huge pop stars.) but, they still played regularly up this was as a sort of ‘hometown hero’. they even had the ‘raider’s coach’, which looked like a huge vox guitar (george barris himself designed it!). and bandstand was THE place in tacoma that carried vox equipment.

the go-go girl silhouette illustration is playing a vox bass. that is sooooo cool! go-go girls were the peak of female cool. ever watch the “TAMI show” (just re-released with much fanfare)? if you look at the go-go dancers, you’ll spot the two biggest name, hottest, coolest go-go girls in los angeles (he center of the teenage cool universe). it’s that crazy blonde and that petit brunette gyrating way out of control – putting the rest of those ‘professional’ dancers to shame. they’re names were toni basil and terri garr. yes, THAT toni basil and terri garr. remember this was los angeles. they were the most famous go-go chicks of all time.

So, i share this ad with you to enjoy. a snapshot from another galaxy long ago. the focal point of hip in tacoma, washington, 1965/6. when having the right guitar and the coolest chick and the snappiest tune made you a god. life was simple then. right?

that go-go chick with the vox bass would make a really cool tattoo….


AC:by the way, bands like the liverpool five were just trying to cash in on the british invasion by faking being british. a common schtick. they were from (if i remember correctly) boise,idaho. they actually had a couple of regional hits and a few songs that were really rather good. …clover park w

study in contrasts. eventually the poor kids burned the school down, didn’t they?

and maestro bobby radnitch (aka bobby floyd) of the java jive went to school there, didn’t he?…ever see him perform at the java jive? he was amazing and strange. a savant-type. he could play just about any tv theme ever made – from memory. we’d tip him to play the addams family or the munsters of gilligan’s island. he’d improvise on them. he was pretty great. he also kept the coolest trashy juke box in town….the ventures started their career by being the house band at the java jive. true fax!…

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